Bochkarev - Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Bochkarev - Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Bochkarev - Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


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Russian Presence in the Region: KeyMilestones• 1910 - Russian Navy sent to explore the Northern SeaRoute (NSR); first territorial claim made in 1916.• 1926 - Moscow declared as Soviet territory any landmassinside the 5,842,000 sq. km triangle between the NorthPole, the Bering Straight and the Kola Peninsula, in 1935the USSR joined Spizbergen Treaty.• Russia ratified UNCLOS in 1997 and submitted acontinental shelf extension claim in 2001 (1 st claimrejected).• 2007 – expeditions sent to gather evidence that theLomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges are extensions of theRussian continental shelf.• May 2008 Greenland Summit and Ilulissat Declaration.• Sept. 2008 - Security Council of Russia set up keypriorities of the State Arctic Policy 2020.

Importance of the Arctic forRussia• Climate change as a challenge and opportunity.• Economic engine: the region produces 11 % of Russia’sGDP and contributes 22 % to its growth.• Resource base: up to 80 % of Russia’s discoveredindustrial gas potential. Important deposits of other mineraland biological resources.• Location: Open access to 3 oceans, base of strategicnuclear submarines and the Northern Fleet.• Transport corridor - NSR reduces the distance betweenRotterdam and Yokohama by 34 %.• Protection of an extensive borderline (over 17,500 km).

Multilateral cooperation in the Arctic:Declared Russian Priorities• Good relations with neighbors: delimitation agreement withNorway reached in September 2010.• Importance of international organizations, such as the ArcticCouncil and Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC)• Protection of indigenous populations was one of the keypriorities of Russian BEAC Presidency• For Russia, environmental protection is the key pre-conditionfor a new ‘sustainable economic growth’• Russia initiated regional systems for prevention oftechnological disasters and supported U.S. (and originallyRussian) initiatives on Search & Rescue (Sea & Air)

Current and potential issues ofconcern for the Russian Federation• Excessive internationalization of the Arctic (Russia andCanada are ‘unhappy’ EU’s demand to become observer inthe Arctic Council)• Delimitation of the continental shelf and overlapping‘extension’ claims in the Arctic.• Border protection and militarization, involvement ofNATO• Possible future challenges to the sovereignty of (ice-free)NSR, now regulated by the Law “On Inner Sea Waters,Territorial Sea and Adjacent Zone of the RF” (1998)• Implementation of the delimitation agreement between theU.S. and Russia in the Bering Sea.• Economic activities in Spitsbergen’s 200-mile zone.

Russian State Arctic Policy 2020Priorities• The Arctic is set to become Russia’s main resource base inthe 21 st century, thus defining the limits of the country’scontinental shelf and development of relevant legal basisbecome one of the top priorities.• Sustainable use of natural resources, taking into accountenvironmental imperative, rights of local populations anddifferent national security concerns.• Development of transport routes (Northern Sea Route),border protection infrastructure and regionalinformation/telecommunication infrastructure.• National Security Imperative: the region hosts the keyelement of Russia’s Strategic Triad – Northern Fleet.

Russia’s Arctic Potential andIts Shortcomings• Large polar class field fleet (7 nuclear icebreakers),including the biggest “50 Years of Victory” plus a numberof vessels owned by private companies.• Extensive geological and geographic knowledge of theArctic, comprehensive Arctic policy, polar class industryand relevant policy mechanisms. Good research andscientific capacity.• Lack of practical industrial ‘know how’ and sufficientinvestment. Lack of clarity about implementation of the‘Yamal Program’• Border protection/territorial control issues, environmentalprotection issues, depopulation.

Questions for the future• Would the UNCLOS be the single source of law for thedelimitation?• Which governance for the Arctic?• How to deal with the third countries’ presence (if any)?• How would U.S. – Russia / EU - Russia relations impactthe regional developments in the Arctic? Would it bepossible for Moscow to spread positive trends in Norway –Russia relations to relations with other countries?


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